Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Vice President Masahiko Komura at the Kantei on Oct. 3, indicating that he would like to explain the party’s constitutional revision proposals on four issues to the ruling and opposition parties at the extraordinary Diet session this fall. Abe stated at a news conference on Oct. 2 that he would “aim at submitting the LDP’s constitutional amendment proposals to the next Diet session.” When Komura asked: “You mean you would like to explain at the Commissions on the Constitution of both houses of the Diet?” Abe answered: “You could say that.”
Up until now, Abe was thought to be keen on “submitting” proposals to the extraordinary Diet session, but now he has effectively admitted that it would be fine to just “explain” the proposals as a basis for discussions, watering down his position.
The LDP Headquarters for the Promotion of Revision to the Constitution drafted proposed provisions on the existence of the Self-Defense Forces under Article 9, establishing an emergency clause, the elimination of joint electoral districts for the House of Councillors, and educational improvement. However, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and other opposition parties reacted negatively to these proposals, preventing explanations from being made at the Commissions on the Constitution.
Although Abe is also keen on engaging in prior consultations with Komeito, this party has not agreed to this suggestion, so it is necessary to hold discussions at the Commissions on the Constitution with members from both the ruling and opposition parties.
During his courtesy call on Democratic Party for the People leader Yuichiro Tamaki on Oct. 3, Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi remarked, “There is no difference between the ruling and opposition parties when it comes to (the debate on) the Constitution. We are equal players in the Diet.” He told Tamaki: “It is not appropriate to do something first outside the arena and then bring it into the debate,” in another attempt to keep Abe in check.